The United States and its allies have a rare second chance to punish Syria for attacking civilians with chemical weapons or else risk the further weakening of global norms against the use of weapons of mass destruction, writes CFR President Richard N. Haass.
As diplomatic efforts to broker a settlement to the civil war have so far come up short and the Islamic State retains a foothold in the east, a segmented Syria will likely experience reduced but persistent violence for years to come, says Ambassador Robert Ford.
“Over the course of the war, U.S. bombing of Laos would become so intense that it averaged one attack every eight minutes for nearly a decade,” observes Joshua Kurlantzickin his new book, A Great Place to Have a War: America in Laos and the Birth of a Military CIA. Kurlantzick, a Council on Foreign Relations Senior Fellow for Southeast Asia, mines extensive interviews and recently declassified Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) records to give a definitive account of the secret war in the tiny Southeast Asian nation of Laos, which lasted from 1961 to 1973, and was the largest covert operation in U.S. history. The conflict forever changed the CIA from a relatively small spying agency into an organization with vast paramilitary powers.
After responding to Syria’s war with strong rhetoric but mostly tepid action, the United States must now set limited goals if it is going to accomplish even a limited amount of good, writes CFR President Richard N. Haass.
Syria's civil war is being fought on multiple fronts by an array of combatants whose alliances, capabilities, and in some cases motives have been in flux. This Backgrounder profiles more than a dozen of the main warring sides.
Iraq’s campaign to liberate Mosul from the Islamic State and restore the Iraqi government’s authority requires coordination among numerous armed groups with competing interests, says CFR’s Philip H. Gordon.
Gayle Tzemach Lemmon highlights the need for renewed attention on the war in Afghanistan. Nearly 10,000 U.S. troops remain in the country and U.S. casualties are close to 2,300, but little about Afghanistan has made headlines in recent years or received mention by political leaders.
President Barack Obama traveled to Laos to attend the U.S.-ASEAN summit and was the first U.S. president to visit the country. This declaration was released September 6, 2016, and includes aid toward removing mines the U.S. military left in Laos during the Vietnam War.
The Authorization for the Use of Military Force, passed by Congress in the immediate aftermath of the September 11, 2001, attacks, has been cited by the Bush and Obama administrations as sanctioning far-ranging military operations. Four scholars offer their perspectives on the AUMF’s legacy fifteen years on.
The battle for Aleppo has taken a staggering civilian toll and it is likely to escalate because both regime and opposition forces see the city as crucial to a political endgame, says expert Lina Khatib.
Adjunct Senior Fellow Stephen Biddle and his co-author, Ivan Oelrich, argue in the latest issue of the journal International Security that Chinese antiaccess/area denial is a real, but limited long term threat. It can allow China to gain control of its own airspace, it can deny the U.S. wartime freedom of movement across much of the South and East China Seas, and U.S. counter-efforts are unlikely to prevent this in the 2040 time frame on which we focus.
The expanded use of light-footprint warfare–including drones, cyber-operations, and Special Operations Forces–has established precedents constituting a remarkable legacy of presidential power to use military force, posing a distinctive challenge to U.S. democracy and military strategy ahead.
At the end of September, Russia began conducting air strikes in Syria, ostensibly to combat terrorist groups. The strikes constitute Russia’s biggest intervention in the Middle East in decades. Its unanticipated military foray into Syria has transformed the civil war there into a proxy U.S.-Russian conflict and has raised the stakes in the ongoing standoff between Moscow and Washington.
Learn more about CFR’s mission and its work over the past year in the 2016 Annual Report. The Annual Report spotlights new initiatives, high-profile events, and authoritative scholarship from CFR experts, and includes a message from CFR President Richard N. Haass. Read and download »